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Pokemon Go player punished for playing during lockdown

Since earlier this month, Italy has been on an enforced lockdown to help cut off the spread of coronavirus cases. However, Leggo.it (via Newsweek) is reporting that one man has been found in violation of those lockdown procedures for the most unlikely of reasons. While Italian citizens have been advised not to leave their homes unless they are going to their jobs or picking up necessary supplies, one 31-year-old man was stopped and sanctioned by police officers for taking his daughter outside to play Pokemon Go

When questioned by the police, the man responded in a way that would have made Ash Ketchum proud. His only defense was reportedly, "I have to hunt the Pokemon." Well, who could possibly argue with that?

According to Newsweek, this man is one of over 43,000 Italian citizens who have been similarly charged for public endangerment and breaking quarantine unnecessarily. This is in addition to the actual millions who have been checked by law enforcement officers in their attempts to make sure that citizens are obeying the rules of the lockdown. While some of the other people who have been charged were sanctioned while attempting to do their normal jobs or public services, this is a unique case in just how ridiculous it seems. Apparently, this fellow though this was a legitimate excuse, or at least enough of one to get out with his child. Not only that, but he reportedly seemed utterly confused when the police stopped him in his tracks.

It's a genuinely bonkers interaction to imagine. As one Twitter user responded to the story, "This is awful, but I'll be laughing about 'I have to hunt the Pokemon' for a while." 

This isn't the first time that Pokemon Go players have flouted the government's rules in the never-ending quest to catch 'em all. Earlier this year, the Canadian military released years of reports that chronicled their efforts to understand the augmented reality game. More than a few military bases initiated daily patrols to keep an eye on overzealous gamers who wandered onto their grounds in search of Pokemon, including one enthusiastic family who was caught climbing on an actual tank.

This led to a very wholesome response from Rear Admiral John Newton, who wrote, "Life and work are best accomplished if there is good fun, health and friendship. If Pokemon Go enables these values, while we protect our interests, then we all stand to marvel at this intersection of technology, gaming and health."

Naturally, Rear Admiral Newton probably wasn't considering something like this, which is literally an intersection of technology, gaming, and health that actually poses a potential threat to public health. This is why Niantic, the developers of Pokemon Go, have found ways of altering the game to still be fun for folks who are stuck indoors for the time being. In a recent announcement on the official Pokemon Go site, Niantic has rolled out some updates to the game that will make it easier for everyone to still get involved with Pokemon Go without putting themselves as risk.

According to Niantic, the upcoming "Abra Day" event has been postponed. The number of steps players need to walk in order to hatch their Pokemon eggs has also been cut in half. This will help players who are stuck in a smaller space to still be able to get the necessary steps in. Niantic has also increased the number of wild Pokemon that can be encountered, so when you do go out, you're more likely to frequently encounter those monsters you've been hunting for. Incense also costs much less in-game, which will allow players to draw wild Pokemon to them more easily. Lastly, PokeStops are dropping more frequent gifts, so now is the time to stock up on supplies for your next big Pokemon hunt when things settle down a bit outside. 

In fact, precautions are being taken the world over to ensure that the coronavirus doesn't have an even worse impact on the lifestyles of gamers than it already has. Multiple gaming tournaments, including the League of Legends Pro League, have been postponed or moved to being held exclusively online. 

Hopefully this isn't the start of a trend in Pokemon Go players being particularly reckless. Anyone who has played the game for themselves completely understands the thrill of the chase and the excitement that comes with filling out your Pokedex. Still, let's all agree to keep things within reason, yeah? There's a fine line between being a respectable trainer and coming off like one of those folks in Team Rocket.